Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dirty Kanza 200 race recap - I suffered like a dog and almost cried like a baby

So which hotel? Oh, OK. Nevermind.

Troy, James and I rolled into Emporia on Friday afternoon. The rest of the Nebraska crew were either on the way or already there. Nebraska had another great representation this year. We just can't get enough of that gravel goodness.

Friday afternoon heat. Saturday was more of the same.

The heat was a popular topic of discussion on Friday afternoon/evening. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (race day) had well above average temperatures. Sunday's high was forecast to be in the high 70's. Bad luck again this year for race day.

Local newspaper hyping the excitement

The town of Emporia really got behind the Dirty Kanza this year. The start/finish was in downtown Emporia in front of the Granada Theater. The street was closed during the day which had food vendors, kid activities, live music, and a beer garden! Kudos to Emporia and all that helped organize the festivities.

Jim Cummins, DK200 Co-Director and all around awesome guy, on the mic at the Friday evening pre-race meeting

Registration and pasta feed was at the host hotel. You gotta love having registration at the host hotels. Makes it a lot easier on the racers and family.

Joel Dyke, DK200 Co-Director and one of my doppelgängers, chattin' about the Dave Pals Award

Jim and Joel unveiled the new David Pals Award for the 2010 Dirty Kanza during pre-race meeting. The Award goes to the rider who has the biggest smile when they cross the finish line despite how they end up at the end of the day. Adventure Monkey provided a beautiful Flint Hills photo as the prize. Not sure who the award. My vote goes to Troy Krause (see below).

Cheering squad set and ready to go!

Riders readying themselves prior to the start.

Clear skies above. It's gonna be a cooker!

Over 200 registered with 170+ starting (unconfirmed)

The field had a very talented group of riders in attendance. Lots of gravel and enduro-cycling veterans. It was exciting to be in that field of riders.

All corners of the USA were represented at the DK200 this year

Neutral rollout with Emporia Police escort

6 AM the race begins. The temperature was mild, but the air was thick. The heat coupled with the humidity would punish riders the rest of the day. I know of a couple folks who went to the hospital for IV fluids after the race.

Thank you Emporia Police!

"L" is for Lance!

Slow rollin' through town for a couple miles

Game on!

In typical fashion, the race was on as soon as we hit the first gravel of the day. The pace was relatively subdued the first 15 to 20 miles.

Dan Hughes, former DK Champion and runner up x 3(?), was sadly missed this year. Heard Dan broke his collarbone recently. Bummed not to have him there. He's a great guy to ride with and always keeps the pace exciting. Several times during the early part of the race I thought to myself that we need Dan up there setting the pace.

Troy rockin' the PCL kit

Riders strung out in a double pace line once we hit the gravel. Basically sticking to the automobile tire tracks because those are usually the best lines with the fewest amount of rocks. And there are a lot of rocks in Kansas.

Butch and Wills leadin' the charge on single speeds followed by Steve and Eric. Jah!

Once the rollers started the group split a bit

Lance Andre gettin' areo on the fat tires - Lance would go on to finish 2nd overall on the day and then go to the hospital

Steve (pictured left) of 30th Century Bicycle rode great all day

Joe Fox (pictured left)of Cycle City finished 3rd on the day! Jeremy Fry grindin' it out (pictured right)

Pick a good line!

You gotta to be on your toes if you aren't in front. Lots of large rocks are embedded in the roads which can end your day quickly. Troy almost suffered that fate. He would end up crashing badly after hitting a rut around mile 20. He had gravel rash from ankle to shoulder and a messed up bike, but still continued on and finished 8th overall. Amazing. If he hadn't gone down, I think he would have won it. Next year, man.

Dennis, my other doppelgänger, crashed into Troy when he when down and ended up busting open his chin and elbow. He ended up with a dozen or so stitches in the chin and elbow and had to drop. Heal up Dennis!

Let the Cattle Gauntlet begin

"Hee-yah! Go on, git! Hee-yah!"

Joe Meiser and Kearney, Nebraska native Mike Marchand leadin' the charge after the break

Sometime around when Troy was going down a break occurred. The front of the group sped up on a slight downhill which shed several riders. The pace picked up for the next hour and eventually when the dust settled there were four left; Joe Meiser (enduro badass), Mike Marchand (2009 DK Champion), James Blake (Lincoln strongman and DK rookie), and myself (dork). It was a great crew. I was stoked.

Alright Joe, give me your sexy pose. Yep, that's it.

Let's do this fellas!

The four of us worked together and rolled into the first checkpoint with a modest lead on the rest of the field. After a quick refuel and restroom break we were off for more Flint Hills gravel.

Mike Marchand clipping along

After the first checkpoint, James would fell of the pace a bit. Soon thereafter Joe, Mike and I stopped for a pee break. It ended up being more than a pee for me. For some reason, I had stomach issues all day long. It was ugly.

Somewhere before the half way point Mike and I pulled away from Joe who was also battling a stomach issue. Then Mike started to cramp up a bit. I kept the tempo steady and ended up rolling into the halfway point a bit ahead of Mike. I had to keep rollin'. Stopping in the heat, even for a few minutes, absolutely kills me.

The heat steadily climbed throughout the morning. By the time we hit Council Grove (halfway), it was in the lower 90's. I was drenched in sweat from head to toe. Things were only gonna get worse.

Sufferin' like a dog

After the second checkpoint, some clouds came rolling in from the North. Ah! The Bike Gods have smiled upon us today! The temperature instantly dropped 10 degrees and it even rained for a bit. It felt great.

After riding solo for 15 or so miles, I thought I went off course. So I turned around and did some back trackin'. That's when I ran back into Mike and Lance Andre. The three of us rolled together until I flatted on the infamous Lil Egypt Road. That road is one rocky SOB. Mike and Lance waited for a bit as I changed out the flat, but they eventually continued on when I took a lot longer than I should have to change out the flat.

The cloud cover was intermittent by now so the temperature began to climb again.

Mike, Lance and I rolled into the third checkpoint staggered about a minute behind each other. Lance refueled and headed back out as Mike and I finished up at the convenience store. Mike and I would end up passing Lance on the big and plentiful rollers in between Alma and Eskridge. That was the toughest part of the race, hands down.

The clouds were gone by then and the temperature was getting ridiculous. I saw 104 degrees on my bike computer a few times on that stretch. Around mile 160 Mike stopped and said he couldn't continue on. I was bummed. Now it was a solo effort. Honestly, I didn't know if I could do it alone.

Double track goodness of Gun Barrel Road

I rolled into Eskridge and took 10 minutes to refuel and hit the restroom. The stops were quick and efficient. No wasted time.

The view from atop of Gun Barrel

The rest of the day I rode solo. Always looking back for another rider. It was a death march. Unfortunately, I had headwind all the way back to Emporia. Shortly after I finished the winds shifted 180 degrees when a storm front rolled in from the North. Ha!

The finish was quite an experience. I'm guessing around 100 folks were waiting at the finish line ringing mini cow bells and cheering me on. I was so shelled I could hardly crack a smile. I had been hanging on by a very thin thread for several hours. The stomach issue prevented me from eating much all day. Jim Cummins came over and shook my hand. I gave him a big hug and would have cried if tears were possible. My proudest day on the bike.

Troy sportin' his wounds and a big smile after finishing. Bingo!

Scott Bigelow Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth rider (rider on the left) after crossing the finish line. He crushed it all day. Congrats!

Emily Brock took the Women's win. Nice work!

Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth rider Aaron Gammel after the finish. Great job, man!

Awards ceremony - I keep looking back at the finish line hoping to see Aaron finish

Wicked handmade DK200 trophy by Joel Dyke

Whew, now that's some enduro bloggin'. Alright, I gotta wrap this up cuz I don't have much sensation in my hands.

Thanks to Jim Cummins, Joel Dyke, the city of Emporia, all the DK200 Sponsors, my personal sponsors - Cycle Works and the Moose's Tooth, the Nebraska support crew (Debe Sue, Tyler and the Gammel family), and all my friends for all the encouragement and support. I love you all!


mw said...

nice job. not sure how you can keep that pace for so long. i thought you'd find my lead out amusing.

Thew said...

The highest of fives dude. Congrats.

Malcolm said...

Hell Yeh, Go Cornbread, congratulations! That is serious stuff, very impressive! Let me know when you feel like getting back on the bike for a ride!

GetRad said...

Pay Day!

Nice work buddy. You make me smile.

millhouse said...

Super awesome. Congratulations!!

Sport said...

Congrats to all who partook - Amazing to not only finish, but to win it - and in those conditions.

Shane said...

Congratulations!!! Way to represent! Lincoln is very proud of you! Your an animal Cornbread! Hope you'll write another DK200 post on your training, diet, hydration, equipment, attitude, etc, what you think helped you come in 1st, and if there was anything you wished you've done differently. Again, outstanding ride my friend!

NNs said...

word travels quickly. congratulations brother. this was great news to hear at the end of the day.

CJ said...

Wow....awesome job Cornbread!!!

XXC Magazine said...

Way to go Cornbread!!! Super stoked for you. Congratulations.

Nice to see Aaron there flying the XXC colors too. That pic of Joe made me throw up a bit of coffee in my mouth this a.m., but not before I laughed.

Again, great job to you and to the folks that gave it everything in the tank in that heat.


theunicycleguy said...

Way to go this weekend! You did one heckuva job out there on the gravel!


cvo said...

way to go buddy, way to go.

mathguy said...

Corey, I don't know how you guys survive stuff like that. Just awesome-congratulations!

dane said...

From -6 to 106, always a gentleman and a scholar. Congrats.

Scott Kiddoo said...

Great job Corey.
Will you still ride with us mere mortals?
Great job to all the Nebraska guys!

fob said...

Super awesome Corey! I knew this win was coming sooner or later. Wisconsin next, or some fun gravel (i.e. Ponca!)??

RD said...

Great job, it was tough day on bike.

Endurosnob said...

Dude, when I heard, I got a little misty for you, so that was covered. Way to kill it off, my man. Super proud of you.

sockrider said...

Super Awesome! Congrats, good job!

bikerfish said...

Great job Corey!!! Well deserved!

MrDaveyGie said...

Beyond incredible.

jamesb said...

Great job, amazing ride and well deserved!

Thanks for the great pics, it was fun to go back and relive some moments. Next year I'm going to see Gunbarrel for myself...

kdoggett said...

Congratulations Corey. I've been impressed in the past that you can ride with the leaders and still have the time and dexterity to take so many great photos. But now to win the whole thing?! Amazing!

Bruce said...


Congrats! You tamed the beast!!!


Tim Ek said...

Corey, what you did out there is the stuff dreams are made of.

Tim Ek

John said...


And thanks for the super sweet write-up when you could have been doing "the stranger",

John Waller

trainrech said...

Amazing ride.


d.p. said...

Huge Congrats!

paxtoncoyote said...

Way to go Cornbread, since following your blog for some time I knew it was coming, GREAT JOB!

If you ever need some new gravel to train on come west to Paxton & I'll set you up!

eDLoNNiE said...

Fantastic job! This will be something that you'll look back on, the rest of your life, with pride.

Anonymous said...

Neato Cornbread, I love it!

Emily said...

great job and nice writeup! thanks for the great finish line photo of me too! see you next year :)

elisabeth said...

Well done, Corey! Sounds like a well-earned win -- you're humble enough that you deserve to gloat a bit.

Ari said...

I am very happy for you. You fought off those demons and won a huge race!! What a great experience.

brady said...

Dude. You've earned the WSCG Seal of Approval if there ever was one. Good job Cornbread.

I'm going to have to start supplementing some cornbread with my Steel Cut Irish oatmeal.


Tex69 said...

Cornbread, awesome job. I stole the double-track pic and gave you some props. If you would rather not, feel free to drop me a line.

I love reading about the NB crew. We don't have near the mixed-terrain here, so, well, it's just a bit more boring.